What Kills an Organization’s Social Media Program

On this blog I have become quite outspoken against plastering the same piece of content across multiple social media platforms. However, much of my scorn on this lame practice had been directed on an individual basis. You know, I was mostly talking to my friend who would post the exact same photo with the exact same caption with the exact same hash tags of her new shoes across four different social networks. Or I was talking to the guy who I don’t even know why I am following who pressed a button and sent his No Shave November mustache simultaneously to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Then, just to be extra annoying he decided to Snap Chat it to everyone on his list as well.

I have called these people out enough. You are annoying, you are unoriginal, and you are lazy. You also lack complete understanding of how individual social media services work. But you know what? There are more severe violators out there besides my old high school classmate, my college lab partner, and my friend who works at Starbucks. There are users out there who sin far greater when it comes to duplicating content across social mediums than just everyday people who want to do social media their own way and could care less what I think. I am talking more about people who should know better and who have much larger audiences in the social world.

Tonight I am talking about people and groups who direct organizational social media programs.

Because I am tasked with running the social media program for Grizzly Athletics, I naturally look at many other official athletic department pages/accounts around the country just to get a better idea of what others are doing and to learn from them. I also look at official pages of my favorite brands, restaurants, and organizations to once again get a gage of what works and what people are doing to engage their fans/customers/clients. Many of these entities have powerhouse and pristine social media programs that use each of their various outlets in a creative way to engage, inform, and inspire their target audience. Others, however, miss the boat.

Would you believe me if I told you that I regularly see entities that send out the same filtered photo or the exact same update to every single social media service they work with? I always have a tough time wrapping my mind around this flawed practice just because in this day and age new media marketing/information sharing is king. Fans and customers are heavily involved and entrenched in social media and they want to be stimulated with fresh and creative content. This legitimate desire is not satisfied for a fan when he goes through the social media pages of his alma matter’s athletic department and observes that the made for Instagram photo with three different filters is posted on the Facebook page and sent out via Twitter. Or the desire is not satisfied when a Facebook graphic is cropped and crunched into an Instagram photo. Or the thirst is not quenched when Twitter updates loaded with hash tags and topped off with Hootsuite shortened links dominate the Facebook page. Yuck!!

It is absolutely critical that companies hire social media professionals who don’t take shortcuts and who understand the importance of diversifying content across different mediums. Social media users who are passionate about a team or brand will follow it via all its different social channels because they want every connection and piece of information they can get. However, when they start to see that what is posted on Facebook is also posted on Instagram and what is posted on Twitter is posted on Facebook they will stop following the majority of an organization’s social media channels. And how can you blame them?

We have to realize that each social media service is unique. They don’t fall exactly in line with one another. The way we present and report to fans must be different across each outlet. Dedicated and effective social media marketers will flat out buck up and spend the extra time it takes to customize and capture extra content to provide their audience with originality. This means taking triple the amount of photos while covering an event, logging individually in to each social media outlet rather than using a third party posting service , spending the time to create different graphics, and devoting care to composing posts that are specific and appropriate to each unique outlet.

Of course consistency must shine through the originality as well. The best social media marketers have no problem sharing unique content across all different channels while at the same time making sure the Instagram piece reflects the Facebook piece and the Twitter piece reflects the Instagram piece (and so on…). Obviously when our football team stages an amazing comeback victory I am sharing the same adversity-defying story across all of our Griz social outlets but I am just doing it with different images, videos, and words depending on the service. Or when we have breaking news I am usually directing fans from our social outlets to www.gogriz.com where a press release with more info can be found but before I do that I am giving them the basic information in an appropriate manner based on what social media service they are on.

Social media is complex. With the complexity comes infinite ways to reach out to fans/customers like never before. To sacrifice these opportunities by taking a lazy and/or uncreative way out is extremely damaging to an athletic department, brand, organization, etc. Diversity across social outlets is key. If you don’t believe me, look no further than some of the entities out there that use duplicate posting across multiple social channels and then take a look at the engagement they get and the follower numbers they have. You will see what I mean. Don’t Blink.

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